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    Posted July 15, 2013 by
    Austin, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    San Diego Comic-Con 2013: Insta-interviews

    More from TommyYune

    An artist who has prevailed against the odds


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     TommyYune met Francis Tsai 15 years ago when he interviewed the architect for a job position. When Tsai was diagnosed with ALS, he began to lose function of his hands, making his career in architecture a fading dream. 'His skill span was breathtaking as he was able to jump from one career track to another,' Yune says. 'It's heartbreaking for an artisan of his magnitude to lose the use of his hands to ALS, but seriously, WOW ... he's too busy with his art to let that get in his way. He's an inspiration to me and many other artists.' Tobii Technology, the company that created the software that allows Tsai to draw with his eyes, produced this video.
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    Many artists dream of being able to draw with their eyes. I have a friend that can do just that, but it's still hard work. Francis Tsai is an accomplished artist and designer battling advanced stages of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease).


    Francis has lost the use of his hands to draw, and can no longer make the annual trek to San Diego Comic-Con, but that has not stopped him. Francis is still the hardest-working artist I know, and he can do it with his eyes. A Tobii PCEye tracks his pupils to allow him to continue making digital illustrations. It sounds simple, like the notion of putting an idea down on paper, but doing it well takes constant practice and the effort is draining. The support structure that has made this possible for Francis centers around his tireless wife Linda, along with his caregiver Gabrielle Schwarz.


    Francis has been working with Derick Tsai (no relation) of Magnus Rex Studio in Los Angeles to gather his artwork into a hardcover art anthology titled RE:INVENT. The project has already garnered an impressive amount of attention at Kickstarter. Francis' courage and dedication has also inspired other artists to contribute to the RE:INVENT anthology and to pursue their dreams. Though Francis can't make it to San Diego this year, Derick will be presenting Francis' work at Booth o-04 in the Small Press Pavilion at Comic-Con 2013.


    1: Linda Tsai describes how Francis can draw with his eyes, despite paralysis caused by ALS.


    2: Francis demonstrates extraordinary focus while hard at work.
    3: Linda and Francis at their home in Austin, Texas.
    4: Francis, before the onset of advanced stage ALS, with Linda.
    5: RE:INVENT is a hardcover art book that includes work by Francis and other inspired artists.
    6: An illustration by Francis, created solely by his pupils.
    7: This illustration features Francis' motto: "Adapt. Survive. Prevail."


    Images uploaded with the permission of Francis and Linda Tsai, and Derick Tsai. Video courtesy Tobii Technology. For more information about the Art of Francis Tsai, please visit TeamGT.com

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